Thursday, October 15, 2020

Beyond your experiences...Making choices that affect more than your own agenda




 Beyond your experiences...

Making choices that affect more than your own agenda

By: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez


Making decisions that coincide with your belief system may come naturally for some of today's voters. There are voters who will dig in deep and be unyielding in their commitment to a cause, a concern, or a law that supports their belief system. Others might consider their personal experiences, life decisions, and the experiences of those with whom they share similar values. There are other voters who will weigh the consequences of the votes they cast in a effort to consider the overall benefits versus risks to their communities. There are a few dangers that need to be addressed. When it comes to being a conscientious voter, it is important to consider the efficacy of laws that promote an "all or nothing" approach. It is no secret that some politicians and groups are promoting an agenda that is seen as a panacea for what is labeled as "this is what's wrong with society."  That is a very dangerous place to set up camp. 

Dangerous "Camps" for Voters

1. Generalizations - When you group every person/concern/ideology into one category and assume that you've covered your bases, you promote a concept that has less to do with the overall good and well-being of individuals versus your own ego. Stereotypes, labels, and comparisons with one-sided opinions create a divisive perspective, whereby camps are set up on opposing teams. When this happens, nothing gets accomplished, except more name-calling, labeling, judging, and "holier-than-thou" platitudes being whipped into a frenzy. Generalizations rarely sway voters. But they do promote a false sense of righteousness.

2. Assumptions - When voters take statements, comments, or observations out of context, there is a risk of misunderstandings. It's easy to cherry pick something that is seen or heard, and form an idea that conforms to our belief system. To comprehend the nuances of language and observations takes more than a knee-jerk reaction, and requires a ton of discernment. Fact checking is critical when determining whether or not something can be applied to your voting process. Here again, watch out for that ego boost that comes from assumptions main fuel...validation.  Clear you head of that adrenaline rush. If you skip this step, then the assumptions, combined with generalizations, will be your undoing.

3. Righteous Indignation - It's hard to hear that your opinions or political points of view have been challenged. It takes a mature person to consider differing sides of an argument. Remaining calm and free of name-calling and labeling is a huge accomplishment for any voter. As soon as you write or speak in a bitter manner, show your temper, and demonstrate less than charitable behaviors in the name of religion, that is when you've already lost your fight. It is discouraging to see so many posts claiming "christian" values that resort to generalizations, assumptions, and righteous indignation with a hint of cruelty. I do not claim to be an expert in theology by any means, yet I am sure there is nothing in christianity to validate the level of contempt toward others that has been recently on display.  

4.  Expectations - When we place our hopes in a human or a human made agenda, there is always a risk of disappointment. Humans are prone to mistakes and failures. We are each human and none of us can claim perfection. Each person is (hopefully) a work in progress. Being "in progress" implies there is a dynamic flow of information, understanding, education, and ability to assimilate what is being provided to us. None of us reaches the same level of "dynamic flow" at the same time. This is both amazing and frustrating at the same time. It is not a simple process when this "dynamic flow" arrives during an election year. There will be differing views, experiences, and levels of acceptance with regard to each point that needs to be considered during our vote.  While we may not agree with others, it is important for us to remember that each human represents the sum of their life experiences thus far. Yelling, name-calling, generalizing, and assuming will not change those things. What will matter is our ability to be compassionate, see beyond our limited life experiences, and contemplate what we can do to create improved systems for those who are marginalized, minimized, and discriminated against. 

Finally, please remember that just because you haven't experienced a situation doesn't mean someone else hasn't struggled with it. Being human means we are responsible for our own behaviors and histories. It means we care about our communities and those who are experiencing hardships. It is not our job to assume someone's intent.  And it is very important that we maintain the separation of church and state. Regardless of our belief systems, some decisions need to remain between the individual and their creator. You do not have a floor seat to their game of life. That has already been reserved...and you're not invited. Focus on your personal relationships, make them stronger, and let's all stop pointing out other people's flaws to avoid dealing with our own. Please vote.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Weidner exposes residents to increased risks during a pandemic

Weidner exposes residents to increased risks during a pandemic

 By: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez


         Why schedule a major apartment renovation now?

Residents at Retreat at Austin Bluffs in Colorado Springs, Colorado continue to be exposed to contractors during a major renovation in the midst of a pandemic. Weidner has chosen to have all the windows/sliding glass doors replaced plus renovate the entire outside of each building. The office staff is not permitted to tell residents what protocol is being implemented to minimize risk factors, except, "They're wearing PPE."  It is unclear whether the many contractors who go in and out of the apartments are asked the main COVID exposure questions or get temperatures taken.

Contractors do not consistently wear PPE. It is also concerning that other residents may not follow COVID risk reduction protocols, thus creating multiple exposure points for this apartment complex. The residents have not been advised of protocol in place to inform residents of positive COVID results and points of exposure. Residents have been told by management that they will not be reimbursed if exposed or if property is damaged.

Why is a major company such as Weidner intent on completing this type of project during a pandemic and thus exposing residents to health risks? 

If you go to Weidner's corporate office website at you will see their tag line as "Weidner Cares." Perhaps they need to ask residents how they feel about having their lives disrupted and their health placed at risk for a major, non-emergency, renovation. Some of the concerns include:

 1.    Our children are scheduled to participate in online schooling during the day when these renovations are taking place. The management has not addressed this concern or provided options for where the children are supposed to be during these invasive renovations.

2.    Some residents are unable to move the furniture away from the areas to be renovated due to heavy lifting that is required. The management stated that residents will not be reimbursed for any costs related to moving furniture.

 3.    Management has stated that residents who might get sick during this time of increased exposure will not be reimbursed for medical expenses or time lost from work.

 4.    Management has not provided a document that states what protocol is being used by the contractors to minimize exposure. There is no stated protocol for tracking exposure or notifying residents of positive COVID tested workers.

5.    Residents have observed improper or absent use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) per current CDC guidelines while contractors are on site.

6.    There are NO visible hand washing/sanitizer stations on site.

Given that we are still in the midst of a pandemic, it is unclear who thought it would be a good idea to pursue this type of renovation project, thus exposing a large apartment complex filled with residents. Management reported trying to work with residents but are minimizing their concerns. "All the other residents didn't have a problem with this and were given 48 hours notice."  Well, this writer is advocating for those who are too scared to speak up for themselves. If Weidner truly cares about their residents, they would not place them in this situation, and would empower their managers to provide better alternatives.   

Here's the most important thing about this renovation. It is NOT an emergency. There is no risk to anyone's health or loss of property if this renovation is postponed.  This huge scale window replacement/building renovation project can wait. If Weidner really cares.

The US department of Labor has guidelines for this type of situation. 

copyright 2020

Our children matter. Renovations can wait!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Considering Adolescents in Treatment Planning - Mental Health & Wellness

Note: This is a reprint from 05/18/2020
There continues to be a need for this especially with everything that 2020 has presented.
Find your community resources and encourage each other. Give yourselves PERMISSION to access mental health services in your area.

Here is a recent post I found on social media:

 6 Top Reasons People With A 
Mental Illness
Don't Reach Out 

1. Fear of judgment

2. Guilt - Don't want to be a burden

3. Shame - They see others thriving and don't want to feel weak

4. Felt misunderstood on previous attempts,
 so choose to suffer in silence

5. Fear rejection - already feel unloveable, can't cope with another reason to add to that list

6. Fear criticism

Considering Adolescents in 
Treatment Planning
By: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez

  There are additional factors to consider when working with teens

I work with adolescents in a mental health facility. Some of the reasons they continue to have challenges managing their mental health concerns include:

1. Parents/Guardians feel that they will be blamed for their teen's problems if they pursue therapy.

2. Parents/Guardians blame a "symptom carrier" of the overall family dynamics when in fact ALL members of a family need to be included in a treatment plan. (This need is not usually included in a discharge plan from a mental health facility.)

3. Parents/Guardians have not dealt with their own dysfunctional coping skills and are unable to provide a foundation for their teen's healing process.

4. Family members expect a short term treatment facility to "cure" all the problems without additional resources, supports, or long term therapy.

5. Teens who are struggling with gender identity face criticisms, threats, and abandonment by family.

6. Teens who have been traumatized by sexual/emotional/physical abuse are afraid to report the incidents to their families or to other members in the community due to a variety of concerns. (Including judgment, blame, and disbelief)


1. There is no "magic formula" or short term "fix". On going treatment is often the best course of action. 

2. Be willing to accept your own part in managing the behaviors and consequences. Stop making excuses and start making a plan of action with professionals who specialize in treating adolescents.

3. Accept that you may need to put your ego on the side in order to develop healthier coping skills for every family member.

4. Progress is not linear. Think of it as going off-roading. You're going to have a lot of bumps in this road that will knock you side-ways. Hold on for the long ride. 

5. You cannot "yell" or "shame" the behaviors out of your teen. 

6. Give yourself plenty of grace to make mistakes and seek additional help from community resources. Pressing the "reset" button is an important concept in re-evaluating goals, strategies, and expectations. ~ 

Wishing all of you a week of adventures, 
solutions to your challenges, 
and answers to your prayers.

Kindest Wishes,

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